3 Crucial lessons to take away from the Raptors' disastrous season

With every challenge comes an opportunity to learn, and for the Raptors, this past season has been nothing but challenging.
Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets
Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages
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Lesson Three: Don't Underestimate Veteran Leadership

This current Raptors roster is a far cry from the team that fans were familiar with just one year prior. In fact, out of the 17 players that remained on the team by the end of the season, only four had been with the Raptors the year before. With such a high turnover rate, the team was bound to lose a bit of their identity in the process.

The first sign of concern came in mid-February after the Raptors suffered a 99-122 defeat against the San Antonio Spurs. Yes, losing to a team with only 11 wins under their belt midway through the season is tough, but the real cause for concern came when - with 30 seconds remaining - Scottie Barnes prematurely made his way to the locker room, leaving many to speculate the leadership capabilities of the first-time all star.

To Scottie's credit, his response to the criticism he faced displayed a clear sense of responsibility. In the games following the incident, Scottie notably went out of his way to make his off-court presence felt by directing plays from the sideline and uplifting many of his less-experienced teammates.

In the Raptors post-season press conference, Barnes had high praise for the example set by Garrett Temple, a 38 year-old veteran and Vice-President of the National Basketball Player's Association.

" Just seeing the type of veteran he is and how he just doesn’t take things for granted, that helps me."

Scottie Barnes (on Garrett Temple)

With the team only getting younger, the Raptors must continue to provide veteran leadership, whether it's by signing Temple to a multi-year extension, or by pursuing another form of veteran leadership in this upcoming pool of free agents.

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